What Women MUST Know About Heart Attack

In heart health, Uncategorized, wellness, women on August 15, 2012 at 2:34 am

When my friend Linda was in her 30s she experienced fatigue, anxiety and sleeplessness. She shrugged it off, though, because in the span of four weeks, she got married, moved to a different part of the country and changed jobs–all at the same time.  Who wouldn’t be tired and anxious, she thought. She was also a little short of breath, but  she was pretty adamant about keeping up her exercise routine, usually working out at least once a day–so she shrugged that off, too.

On top of that, this Registered Nurse at a busy university hospital also had a ten-year-old son whom she raised alone for most of his life, and she also took care of her mother and sister.

About a month later, she was rushed into the operating room for open heart surgery.

The bottom-line:  If she hadn’t ignored the warnings, treatment might possibly have begin earlier–and the heart attack might have been averted.

Chest pressure, pain going down the arms or in the shoulders and jaw, sweating, fainting and nausea are all hallmarks of a heart attack—but they are aren’t necessarily YOUR symptoms.  More often than not, the warnings of women are different from men–and somewhat unpredictable.

As much as a month before the heart attack, women could start to see some warnings. That’s not unusual, says The National Institutes of Health (NIH), who says these missed signs lead to delayed treatment, critical to preventing the disease.

Sadly, Linda’s story is pretty common.

The physical, mental and emotional systems of the body are taxed, leading to health problems so a symptom of an impending heart attack can be easily mistaken for something else. They often work full-time, maintain households and care for children and/or elderly parents; physical, mental and emotional systems of the body are taxed, leading to exhaustion, stress and anxiety, while eating well, relaxing and sleeping are commonly left behind. “Certainly not to say that men can’t get them, but I do see a lot of migraine headaches and fibromyalgia in women,” said naturopathic physician Laurie Brodsky, ND.

As much as a month before the heart attack you might feel:

  • Unusual fatigue
  • Sleep disturbance
  • Shortness of breath
  • Indigestion
  • Anxiety

How do you know when indigestion isn’t really indigestion?  “If you’re taking any kind of treatment, there should be some improvement with two days,” says naturopathic physician Dr. Donielle (Doni) Wilson.  Also president and executive director of the New York Association of Naturopathic Physicians (NYANP), she continued: “If you’re not seeing any improvement at all, or if symptoms get worse, it needs to be investigated right away.

During the heart attack you’ll feel:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Unusual fatigue
  • Cold sweat
  • Dizziness
  • Weakness

So women, if you’re experiencing any of this, please discuss it with your health professional.



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